May 2, 2010

SB 1070

I can understand why Hispanic organizations are up in arms over the new immigration law in Arizona. What I cannot understand is why more citizens are not upset, not about rights of illegals—sorry if that does not sound politically correct—but about their own rights. Why, for example, are those folks who made such a fuss over the Second Amendment, silent about the guarantees of the Fourth Amendment?
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Surely, “probable cause” means something more than “you look like you might be here illegally.”Arizona flag Judges do not grant search warrants on the hunches of police officers, so why should we let the police stop people on the street on the basis of nothing more than a gut feeling? Isn’t everyone in Arizona a potential victim of SB 1070? Irrespective of your citizenship status, what if you have dark skin? What if you are poorly dressed? What if you look like a day laborer?

Arizona’s new law is almost surely going to be declared unconstitutional, for vagueness, if nothing else. Why put the state through the expense to getting to that end result?

Is our nation’s immigration system a mess? Surely. No one in his or her right mind would have created it intentionally. The solution, however, is not taking rights away from everyone, legals and illegals alike. Instead, we need to:
  1. Acknowledge the facts on the ground, including the number of illegal residents already in the U.S. and the number of critical jobs being performed by illegal residents.
  2. Identify the human and financial costs and benefits—yes, there are some benefits—of the present system (or non-system).
  3. Decide what objectives our immigration system should advance or accomplish.
  4. Decide what constraints must be applied to any redesigned immigration system, particularly cost considerations and effects on civil liberties.
  5. Propose new systems designed to achieve the identified objectives within allowable constraints, and estimate their costs and benefits.
  6. Enact laws to implement the best proposal, assuming that at least one proposal is likely to meet our objectives within identified constraints better than the current system.
Of course, our political system won’t let us do that.

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